Here, you can download
the plans in .dwg format for the fourth harp (the Waldorf harp) for free. This page also presents prices and details
for Paper plans for three nylon strung harps (26, 30 and 36 Strings) a historic
wire strung harp based on the Lamont, and instructions for building a Bray harp
based on plans available through the
Plans Sheet – showing the size of the harp, length of the sound board and angles for placing the base plate and cap
Detail sheets - Showing the scantlings for shaping the soound board as well as the fasteners that hold the neck, pillar, and sound box to each other
Full Sized Templates - for the Neck, Pillar, Knee block, string rib grommet spacing and sound holes
Stringing schedule – Listing the lengths, gauges colors and compositions for each of the strings
The Raven 36 – $45
I have built about 20 of these and the Raven is the most popular plan I sell. The Range descends two notes below the great C to 43Hz. A. With 1,200 lbs of tension, the frame and sound box need to be strong.
30 String Abbott – $40
I met Craig Abbott at a local clan gathering and we resolved to build a nice harp for his youngest daughter. As a father of seven, he wanted something that could be built quickly and economically. We were both delighted with the result – a small, portable 30 string harp that delights the eyes and ears.
26 String Siochan based on the Clark Harp – $30
Siochan is Gaelic for “Peace”. This harp has been popular with folks that want something they can carry easily for therapy work or Renaissance fairs.
Waldorf 22, Lap Harp – Free
This design was developed
for a class of middle-schoolers at a
The Neck to pillar joint is a simple butt joint, reinforced with a side patch. The 3mm birch ply soundboard can be tacked on with bronze ring nails. Straightforward solutions allow a rank beginner to make a robust instrument with minimum drama and fuss.
You can download the Waldorf plan in a portable document format (.pdf) or as an Autocad (DWG) file along with the Building Notes (8 pages) I originally developed for the school. If you have trouble opening the files, I would be happy to E-mail you the .dwg or .pdf files. Many engineering firms, architects and print shops have CAD programs and large media plotters. Savvy craftsmen have found the proper inducements (do I smell fresh baked cookies?) to the appropriate individual can score them a set of full-sized plots. If you insist on paper copies of the building guide, plans, detail sheets templates and string band, I would be happy to send them to you for $20.
Lamont Style Wire Strung – $30
This plan is based on
measurements and drawings in Robert Bruce Armstrong’s The Irish and Highland Harps.
Tim DesRoches spends his summers in nearby
Magda, a Five Octave 6/6 Cross Strung Chromatic – $45
60 strings, 56” tall, 28” Deep, 18” wide, 22 lbs
Warning - A cross strung harp is a complex, high tension instrument requiring close tolerances for pin placement. It is a difficult instrument to build well. This harp also uses a unique pin configuration with the tuning pins crossing each other in the neck. This makes tuning a little easier since the harper can place her wrench over the tuning pegs that run along the top of the neck, unimpeded by the other strings. It also keeps the turning angles between the bridge and tuning pins smaller. To get the angle separations needed at the bass end, holes for the #6 tuning pins had to be drilled and reamed through a neck that is 3 inches thick at the bass end. The angled holes can be made with simple jigs, but do require some patience and skill to make accurately.
The most common cross strung harps use a 5/7 configuration, with seven “natural” strings per octave (think of the white keys of the piano) lying in one plane and the other five strings (the black keys of the piano) falling in the other plane.
Like the Lamont, the first prototype was built by Tim DesRoches. He was pleased with the look and sound of the final instrument and took it back to Poland for his wife Magda at the end of the summer 2010
Building Guide for a
Renaissance Bray Harp – $25
32 strings, 51.5” tall, 17.75” Deep, 8” wide, 9 lbs
Warning - The Bray harp has a very distinctive sounnd!
In 2005, I was contacted
by Holly Stockley, Veterinarian from
The building guide is
meant to be a companion to a set of plans that can be purchased from the Boston
Museum of Fine Arts. Their on-line
collections database has page on this harp that you can find by doing a Google
search on “Boston MFA 17.1785”. To get
the plans, you will need to send $35 to Department of Musical Instruments,
The Building guide is 8 pages and includes the steps I used to build the sound box, neck and pillar. It provides detailed instructions and 10 diagrams describing how to fabricate the staples and bray pins used to attach the strings to the sound board. It lists three string sets (one in nylon, two in traditional gut) as well as specifications and sources for hardware. The Building Guide does not pretend to replicate the methods used by German Luthiers of the late 1600’s. It illustrates the approach I used to efficiently build a working instrument using modern power tools and readily available materials. The Bray building guide does not provide full sized templates or plans for building the harp. You will need to make templates for these parts from the plans you purchased through the Boston MFA.
Prices include shipping
To order, simply send a check, money order to:
Silver Spring MD 20901.
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